Jozef Kosc, a fourth-year political science and history student, has already made a name for himself in the foreign policy world.
Kosc is a research fellow at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Council of Canada, an International Security Analyst at the Atlantic Council of the UK, and a youth diplomat. He has also written for several international publications including The Journal of Political Studies and Atlantic Voices.
Last May, Kosc was invited to participate in strategic defence briefings on Eastern European security at NATO headquarters and at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). He was the world’s youngest civilian academic in attendance at these briefings.
Kosc is currently spending his summer at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) headquarters in Paris, where he researches economic development policies for the OECD Observer, a magazine that analyses global economic and social issues.
According to Kosc, organization and prioritization allowed him to balance his coursework with his foreign policy work.
“As an avid swimmer, waking up early to exercise is the key to keeping me focused throughout the day,” Kosc said. Kosc also cited the importance of guidance and support from friends and family.
In 2013, Kosc was awarded the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Students for Development Award for his work in promoting equitable education across sub-Saharan Africa.
He attributed his interest in international security and development work to his travels.
“Having backpacked across 32 countries in four continents over the past three years, and having witnessed oppression, poverty and violence firsthand, my perspective on development has changed from a focus on economy to one based more broadly on social policy and underlying security issues,” he said.
Two transformative experiences had an impact on his outlook.
One took place in the summer of 2012, when Kosc found himself in Cairo weeks after the election of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi. Many of the locals he spoke to were hopeful of a new era of prosperity. According to Kosc, shortly after he left Egypt, optimism faded as an ambush of a military base on the Sinai Peninsula sparked a regional conflict. Weeks later, there were reports that while he was in Amman, the capital of Jordan, a major terrorist plot was being planned in that city.
“Twice in a matter of weeks, the atmosphere had changed in a flash, and mere circumstances had worked to my benefit. I began to see security and stability as necessary for any kind of long-term development,” Kosc added.
The second experience happened a year later in Cape Town. While returning from teaching at a high school in the suburb of Mowbray, Kosc was attacked and robbed by a man with a firearm. The encounter left him convinced of the importance of security for development.
After graduation, Kosc plans to pursue graduate studies in international relations in the UK or US.
“10 years from now, I hope to work for the Canadian Foreign Service, helping my country wherever I’m most needed. Having met diplomats during my time abroad, their duty, drive, and perseverance are qualities I’ve come to strongly admire,” Kosc said.